Consumers increasingly want a different relationship with a brand, especially as they continue to spend more time at home. Amid a thriving e-commerce market, today’s retailers have plenty of opportunities to reinvent shopping experiences for consumers, says Mohammed Sirajuddeen, Head of Growth and Digital Commerce for Growing Markets at Accenture Interactive.
The home has become the hub for most interactions and activities, especially over the past 18 months, mostly driven by the pandemic. Improved distant lifestyles and increased reliance on technology have evolved and transformed door-to-door commerce. Changes in shopping habits have fueled a dramatic increase in e-commerce – online purchases of products by casual e-commerce users in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region increased by 384%. Even with the easing of restrictions and the reopening of many businesses, 86% of consumers worldwide still plan to continue or increase working from home.
As retailers have responded with new products, services and innovations, there remains a strong expectation that brands will continue to meet the changing needs of home consumers. With the global home market opportunity expected to reach US $ 184 billion by 2025, the home is quickly becoming the new battleground for branded retailers and marketers. Retail businesses have a unique opportunity to rethink how they can meet the needs of consumers adapted to the pandemic.
Create practical and connected business experiences
Think about digital commerce: consumer hubs, direct-to-consumer sales strategies and click-and-collect solutions. Research has shown that more than half of APAC consumers have reinvented their values and purpose and what drives them to buy products and services after the pandemic. 58% of those “reinvented” consumers would switch retailers if they weren’t offered new, fast and flexible delivery options like click-and-collect and curbside pickup. As consumers choose to stay at home, brand marketers need to proactively think about improving the digital customer experience, including blending the digital and physical worlds to optimize each level of the consumer journey.
For example, BMW launched its new second-generation X5 with an action-packed Augmented Reality (AR) experience. For consumers in Malaysia, that means being able to see, hear, smell and experience the vehicle through their smartphones from the secure confines of their homes amid lockdown restrictions. Chinese company Snow Beer has designed a digitally connected platform that transcends offline and online spaces, allowing fans to connect to ‘meet up’ nights, including hotpot gatherings or street dance battles. , find F&B establishments that offered Snow Beer as well as gifts and beers. .
As digital technologies advance rapidly, a digital commerce mindset is needed. For brand marketers, accelerating and optimizing digital commerce channels (including marketplaces, social commerce, and D2C) will help them get closer to the homebound consumer who demands speed and efficiency.
Leverage AI, data and analytics
Today’s top performing brands use deep human knowledge combined with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence to completely transform the way they do business, predicting trends and preferences, personalization and communications with consumers via chatbots and live chats.
The beauty industry is increasingly allowing consumers to try cosmetics virtually, allowing companies to collect data on who their consumers are, what products they try and buy (or don’t buy), where and when. they engage, and provide in-app or off-app personalized recommendations. Likewise, consumer goods companies around the world are investing heavily in data-driven marketing approaches that combine social listening, CRM, and traditional market research.
The combination of these technologies, alongside the acquired knowledge, creates an increasingly responsive, authentic and human-centered relationship between brands and consumers. By wisely using first-party data and analytics to drive personalization and better consumer engagement, retailers are sending a strong message to their consumers – whether at home or away – whether they are at home or away. wish to create an experience that accompanies them in their daily life. .
Embrace social commerce as the new frontier
Social shopping has accelerated lately. In the APAC region, social commerce sales are expected to exceed $ 4 trillion by 2024, with steady growth of 25% year-on-year. Total social commerce orders in the first half of 2020 in Southeast Asia more than doubled, while the gross value of goods (GMV) tripled. 84% of social media shoppers in the same region will buy more through social media in the next few years.
The opportunities for social commerce are obvious to retailers, but the challenge is to create an experience that truly engages consumers. Retailers in China are strengthening their e-commerce offerings by seamlessly integrating social media with innovative features like mini-programs and live streaming. Outside of China, 85% of Southeast Asian consumers find it “quick and easy to buy products on social media.” And for 53% of consumers globally, the likelihood of purchasing increases if it is a business they can message to.
The acceleration of online shopping has forced retailers to adapt, converging the worlds of social media, e-commerce and advertising. Whether retailers are looking to grow their virtual stores or leverage social media advertising to reach the homebound consumer, the need for a well-designed social consumer relationship management system that can predict trends , hyper-personalized messages, lead smoothly from end to end. Ending digital experiences and delivering timely and conversational customer interactions will be of utmost importance.
Consumers increasingly want a different relationship with a brand, especially as they continue to spend more time at home. In the midst of a thriving e-commerce market, today’s retailers have many opportunities to reinvent shopping experiences for consumers. Those who seize this opportunity to reset their strategies and create new standards using data, creativity and technology will emerge from the post-pandemic accelerated changes.
Mohammed Sirajuddeen is the Head of Growth and Digital Commerce for Growing Markets at Accenture Interactive.